Left unsigned in the offseason, Josh Urbiztondo faced a familiar scenario. After all, he went undrafted in the 2009 PBA Draft.
But it didn’t take long as GlobalPort came calling two weeks ago and wanted the 33-year-old to report to practice.
Without any assurance of being fielded, Urbiztondo went. And on Sunday, he made his PBA comeback finishing with three points on a 1-of-2 shooting from threes in nine minutes in the Batang Pier’s 91-84 win over Ginebra.
“It feels great to be back. I feel well with the guys. It just feels good to be out there with the guys after missing the first couple of weeks in the conference,” he said.
Urbiztondo said his activation came as a surprise even if he’s with the team for two weeks now.
“I got the news I was signed two days ago, didn’t know if I’ll be activated right away. I just had to be ready. I’m getting familiar with the guys and working hard,” he said.
And so far, Urbiztondo is blending in well, with him and Mike Cortez providing the veteran stability for the squad that is anchored by top guns Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle.
“It wasn’t hard learning the plays, adjusting to Terrence and Stanley, the other guys. It’s fun,” he said. “It’s my eighth season. As a point guard and a veteran, it’s my job to adjust to them.”
And Urbiztondo isn’t shying away from taking the mentorship role for the still-evolving Romeo, who has been developing more than just GlobalPort’s go-to scorer.
“He’s working hard everyday. He’s in the gym hours before and I’m actually there with him getting shots up. He doesn’t get tired. I’m trying to help him out as much as I can, get my experience that I’ve had in the league,” he said. “He’s an outstanding kid and a bright future ahead of him.”
As much as his offense and experience fasttrack the Batang Pier’s maturity this conference, Urbiztondo echoed coach Franz Pumaren and said that what will bring the team over the hump will be their defense.
“We want to be a running team and we have a lot of tools to run. We have lots of shooters on the break, but in order to do that, we have to get stops on the defensive end,” he said.
“If we don’t get stops, we can’t be a running team. At any given point, we have scorers that can score at any given time, but defense will get us to another level and defense will hopefully get us to the Finals and win us championship. We have to focus on the defensive end and the offense will come.”